The Russian cargo vessel carrying 700 metric tons of gold ore that vanished in the Sea of Okhotsk last Sunday had no permission to sail, the Far East Investigative Committee Transport Division said on Thursday.
“The bulk freighter was en route from the port of Kiran. It has been established that the vessel set off without receiving permission from the relevant services, and was in breach of minimum crew requirements,” the Committee said in a statement.
“In addition, the investigation has established that the vessel was not equipped for the transportation of bulk cargo, and was not certified fit to transport raw materials,” the statement said.
Earlier, First Deputy Head of the Committee Konstantin Stolbin, said that while the vessel had a capacity of 611 metric tons the investigation suggests that the cargo on board weighed 700-750 metric tons.
The criminal case opened in connection with the vessel’s disappearance is currently considering three scenarios: that it was swept out to sea in a storm, technical malfunction, and the navigation violations.